In this lovely recipe, wild mushrooms are flavored with thyme, shallots and marsala wine and then used as a topping for freshly-baked crostini. Goat cheese adds a wonderful tangy counterpoint to the earthy flavor of the mushrooms. Marsala wine is a fortified wine from the Sicily region of Italy and is typically served as a dessert wine although its flavor can range anywhere from very dry to sweet. It adds a nice, sweet flavor to the mushrooms. Toasted hazelnuts complete the dish providing a fantastic nutty flavor and crunch. Use any wild mushrooms that are in season or that you can find. Chanterelle, hedgehog, oyster, shiitake and crimini mushrooms are all delicious.
Wild Mushroom Crostini
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1 baguette
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
1 pound mixed wild mushrooms, cleaned and chopped (chantarelles, shiitaake, crimini, etc.)
1/2 tablespoon fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper
1/4 cup marsala wine
1/4 cup chopped italian parsley
5 ounces goat cheese
1/3 cup cream
1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts

Cooking Instructions

Slice the baguette on the diagonal into 1/2 inch thick pieces (depending on the size of your baguette, you should end up with 15 to 20 slices.) Pour the olive oil into a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush each slice of bread lightly on both sides with the olive oil. Place the slices one layer thick on a baking sheet. Toast in a 350 degree oven, turning once during cooking, until they are golden on both sides (about 7 to 8 minutes per side.) Set aside to cool on cooling racks.

Heat the butter or olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (about 2 minutes.) Stir in the mushrooms and thyme and cook until the liquid from the mushrooms is mostly evaporated and the mixture is starting to brown (about 8 minutes.) Season with salt and pepper. Add the marsala wine and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is evaporated (if the liquid doesn't seem to be evaporating after about 5 minutes, turn the heat up a bit and continue cooking.) Stir in the parsley and let the mixture cool uncovered in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, blend the goat cheese into the cream until you get a nice, uniformly creamy mixture. Set aside, covered, in the refrigerator until serving.

Just before serving, chop the toasted hazelnuts and add to the mushrooms. To serve, spread some of the goat cheese onto each crostini and then top each with a generous spoonful of the mushrooms. Serve the crostini on a platter sprinkled with leftover parsley or toasted hazelnuts if you like.

Makes 15 to 20 crostini



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elliemay's blog

Mushrooms are more attractive when they retain a wild, rough look about them. Depending on the type of mushrooms you are using, you can either cut them into halves or chop them into thick slices before cooking. Some mushrooms, such as chanterelles, can actually just be torn in half.

Always wait until just before serving to add the topping to the toasts. If the crostini sits for too long with the topping on, the bread may become soggy.

I like thinning the goat cheese out with a little cream as in this recipe but it's not necessary. If you are pressed for time and want to skip this step, go ahead and just use plain goat cheese straight out of the container.

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